Not a Cinderella Story
I don’t have a stepmother, have never been blonde and wouldn’t know how to clean a fireplace if ashes were stacked to the flue. But my road to publication didn’t come overnight or without a lot of disappointment. Cinderella and I have nothing in common. Of course, my becoming published did have a lot to do with finding the perfect fit, so who knows? Maybe I do have a fairy godmother somewhere out there.
Born and raised in Florida to a close-knit family of Italian and Cuban descent, I learned never to give up or give in—especially when in pursuit of a lifelong dream. I worked over eight years before Harlequin Temptation bought my first book. But what an adventure it was!
A romance reader from age 16, I knew what kind of stories I wanted to write. I started my first romance in 1988 while in graduate school. Soon after, I joined the workforce as an English teacher in Catholic school, which people always get a kick out of. I wrote at night and on weekends. During breaks. I grabbed every free moment I could.
In 1996, I retired from teaching, joined my family’s manufacturing business and gave myself more time to write. “The call” from Harlequin came in March of 1997 with an offer to publish SEDUCING SULLIVAN, my fourth completed novel.
I discovered my niche with Temptation’s sensuous, sexy tone and character-driven stories. My desire to “push the envelope” worked even better when Harlequin launched the new Blaze series, longer books that gave me the freedom to explore sensual stories with a more intricate plot. In 2003, I sold my first single title series to Pocket’s Downtown Press, which is female action-adventure with a hot romance storyline. I’ve written novellas for Pocket, Signet and Harlequin. In 2008, I launched a three-book series of paranormal romances and also wrote one of the first-ever “real life” romances for HCI/True Vows in 2010. In 2011, Harlequin published my first ever three-book, back-to-back series, Legendary Lovers.
At the end of 2011, though, I made a decision that isn’t unlike Cinderella’s choice to trust her fairy godmother and go out on her own. I opted to walk away from traditional publishing and venture into the world of independents. That means I am now (under my company, Book Goddess) my own publisher. I retained the rights to the two series I’d sold to Pocket and Penguin and have started adding new releases. The “Dirty” series has expanded to four properties from two and the “Phantom” series to four from three…with more in the works!
Clearly, all the rejection letters and years of working to improve and hone my style paid off. Since that first “call,” I’ve sold over 40 books to four major publishers and have since published 5 projects on my own…with more in the pipeline. All of them are hot, all of them are sexy and all of them are fun!
I like to imagine that once Cinderella got into the castle, she embraced her personal power. So in that way, sometimes I do feel like a certain fairytale princess.